Archive | March, 2012

Dumpling House : dumplings

30 Mar

Dumpling House

328 Spadina Ave. Toronto

The dumplings are great (as good as Mother’s Dumplings? up for debate) and inexpensive.  I do recommend going there to eat but the real deal is the frozen bags of dumplings.  They’re available in any flavour on the menu and it’s $10 for three bags of a dozen.

That’s $3.30 per bag!

That’s 27 cents per dumpling!


Get them now!!

One bag is a satisfying dinner for one.

To cook, thaw the dumplings, heat some oil over medium heat in a skillet with a lid and place them flat side down in the oil.  Let them sit until the bottoms are golden brown (about a minute) then pour 1/2 a cup of water in the pan and cover for 3-4 minutes.  Take the lid off and let any remaining water boil off.

If you don’t have time to thaw them, you can cook them straight from frozen for 8 to 10 minutes in a bamboo steamer (you can pick one up anywhere in Chinatown for $5 to $10 – definitely a worthwhile investment).

Serve the dumplings with a mixture of 1 part vinegar to 2 parts soy sauce for dipping.

Dumpling House Restaurant on Urbanspoon

butter chicken

29 Mar

Have you ever wanted to host a dinner that starts out all civilized and quickly degrades into neanderthals fighting over meat with their hands, using forks and plates only to beat off other dinner guests and unlocking their jaws so that they may stuff as much food into their mouths as possible?  Look no further!

This butter chicken recipe from NPR’s Kitchen Window is that good.  I exaggerated about the unlocking jaws, none of my friends can do that, but the rest is true.

Even if you’re only feeding two people go ahead and make the full recipe because it makes great leftovers.

Serves 4

$7.60 per 2 servings

making sauce

warm naan

green soup

28 Mar

I’ve lived almost exclusively off green soup during periods of not having so much money and/or not having so much time, but it’s not just for times of desperation!  It is really tasty, and good for you too!

The version that I’ve made here includes udon noodles, which you could easily leave out or substitute with rice noodles.  Some other vegetables to consider adding include bok choy, snow peas and edamame.

Makes 2 servings.

$2.75 for 2 servings

green soup


  • 4 c vegetable broth or miso broth
  • 1 small piece ginger
  • 1/2 head broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1/2c tofu, cubed (about 1/3 of a block)
  • 4-5 shiitake mushrooms, sliced into thin strips
  • 3 green onions, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 4 large basil leaves, cut in chiffonade (very thin strips) – do not include if using miso broth
  • 1 package udon noodles


Peel a small piece of ginger and slice 3 or 4 thin slices off.  Put broth in a pot with sliced ginger and bring to a boil.

While the broth is heating up, cut shiitakes, tofu, green onion and basil (if using vegetable broth).  Divide each of these ingredients evenly between two bowls.

Once the broth has come to a boil, add udon noodles and broccoli florets.  Continue to boil for another 1.5 to 2 minutes or until broccoli is barely tender.

Divide the noodles between the two bowls.  Pour enough broth (with broccoli) into the bowls to cover the vegetables and remove any pieces of ginger that fall in.

toronto street food project

27 Mar

click on me

In Toronto, street food is hot dogs.

That’s it.


Because of stupid by-laws that’s why.

If you live in Toronto and you have a few seconds (you do, I know you do) click the badge at the top of the post and send an email or tweet to your councilor to let him or her know that you care about encouraging a vibrant and diverse street food culture in our city.


Ba Le : banh mi

26 Mar

Ba Le

538 Dundas St W, Toronto

Once upon a time, the French took over Vietnam and a delicious sandwich was born.

The end.

Go and order yourself a barbeque pork banh mi.  It’s delicious and filling and it costs $2.90!

From the Vietnamese you get the barbeque pork, lightly pickled shredded carrot and daikon and fresh cilantro.  From the French, garlicky mayonnaise and a fresh crusty baguette.

a kind of gross photo of my companion's partly eaten sandwich... you're welcome!

For a filling lunch that costs less than getting on a streetcar, it’s hard to beat.

Banh Mi Ba Le on Urbanspoon


24 Mar

Well, it’s cold and rainy.  But a couple of days ago it was sunny and warm and wonderful and I was making mojitos and sitting on my balcony.  In memoriam – mojitos.

makes 1 (double) cocktail

mojitos : doubles


  • 10 mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 oz lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 2.5 oz white rum
  • 4 oz soda
  • 1/4 c crushed ice


Put mint leaves in the bottom of a glass.  Add sugar, lime juice, rum & crushed ice and muddle thoroughly.  Add soda and stir well to mix in any remaining sugar.

Garnish with mint leaves and a slice of lime.

kalamata olive tapenade

20 Mar

Tapenade to go with portobello cap salad.  It’s also great on pretty much every sandwich ever.

If you want to make it vegetarian you can substitute an extra teaspoon of capers for the anchovy fillet.

oregano, sage, thyme & basil

kalamata olive tapenade


  • 1 c pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 pinch hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 anchovy fillet
  • 1 tsp capers
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup olive oil


Put first ten ingredients (everything except olive oil) in blender or food processor.  Blend until well combined.  Add olive oil, continuing to blend, in a steady stream until mixture forms a smooth paste (should take less than a 1/4 c of olive oil).  Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or to a sealed container and refrigerate to store up to 3 days.

portobello cap salad

19 Mar

Credit for this goes to my dad who used to make this as an appetizer in the summer all the time.  I love it.  The portobello cap is rich and meaty, the chevre and tapenade are tangy and savoury, the greens are bitter and refreshing.

Don’t throw out the portobello stems, by the way.  Save them for the next morning, chop them up and sautee them; they’re one of the best things you can put in an omelette.

$9.50 for two servings.

Serves 4 as appetizer or lunch.

portobello cap salad


  • 4 portobello mushrooms, stems removed
  • 3/4 c olive oil, divided
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tbsp kalamata olive tapenade
  • 100 g soft goat cheese
  • 6 c mesclun salad mix
  • 4 thick slices crusty french or italian bread
  • pinch coarse sea salt


Heat grill to medium-high heat.

Place 1/2 c olive oil in a bowl and use to brush both sides of each portobello cap and both sides of bread slices.

Place portobello caps on grill, bottoms down.  Cover and cook until browned and beginning to shrink slightly (3-4 minutes).  Turn and repeat on the other side.

At the same time place oiled bread on grill and sprinkle one side with sea salt.  Cook each side until toasted golden brown (2-3 minutes).  If cooked before the portobellos are done, move to the edge of the grill to keep warm without burning.

Whisk remaining 1/4 c of olive oil with balsamic vinegar.  Put a large handful of mesclun mix on each plate and dress with balsmaic vinaigrette.  Place cooked portobello on top of salad, spread 1 tbsp kalamata olive tapenade on each mushroom and top with a slice of goat cheese.

Serve immediately.

pico de gallo

17 Mar

Fresh salsa to go with grilled basa fish tacos.  It’s also tasty on tortilla chips and even better mixed into guacamole.

pico de gallo


  • 4-5 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 of a medium yellow onion, finely diced (about 3/4 c)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 green onions, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced (seeds in if you like heat, seeds removed if you want it mild)
  • 1 c chopped fresh cilantro
  • juice of 1/2 a lime

lots of cilantro...


Combine all ingredients, mix well.  Adjust amounts of jalepeno and lime as desired.  If made in advance pour off any excess liquid that has accumulated in the bottom of the bowl before serving.

grilled basa fish tacos

17 Mar

I just got a brand new barbeque!  Unfortunately I’ve been terrified of barbeques since my dad tried to teach me how to use one many years ago.  All I remember from that ordeal is “blah blah don’t turn this knob or everything will explode blah blah fire”.  Needless to say, I never got over it.

But I am going to overcome my fear!  Luckily these fish tacos are very easy to make. I managed to do it and I am SO PROUD of myself.  (Full disclosure, my boyfriend turned on the propane and lit the barbecue.  I still have some overcoming to do.)

I used Basa fillets because they’re one of the cheapest white fish I’ve found and they have much more flavour than some other options like Tilapia.  They are also much more firm than most white fish which makes them perfect for grilling, especially for a barbeque novice like myself.  Any flaky white fish (mahi-mahi, halibut etc.) will work.

$8 per 2 servings

Serves 4.

grilled basa fish tacos

adapted from Bon Appetit August, 2011


lime crema

  • 1/4 c cream
  • 3 tbsp sour cream
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1/2 tsp pepper


  • 2 Basa fillets (or any firm, flaky white fish – mahi-mahi, halibut, tilapia, etc.)
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 16 corn tortillas
  • 2 c cabbage, shredded
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • pico de gallo


lime crema

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.


Lightly oil grill and heat to medium-high heat.

Mix onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt, pepper and oil on a plate to form a loose paste.  Rub both sides of the fillets with spice paste.

Place fish on grill, cooking each side for about 3 minutes.  Remove from grill and use a fork to flake the fish into small pieces.

If you can get fresh corn tortillas, heat a skillet with some vegetable oil to medium-high heat and cook each tortilla for a few seconds on each side, until brown spots appear.

Serve tortillas warm.  Top each with shredded cabbage, diced avocado, fish, pico de gallo, crema and lime.